Our Gospel today presupposes we have some sense of what the Lord has given to each of us. One of the things which I often tell the men in the Associates Program is that they need to have a sense of understanding of God’s love; a sense of self-awareness. We can’t give what we don’t have, and when it comes to God’s love it has to be more than an intellectual assent that He loves us, we must feel it in our heart. To know that we are loved beyond measure, loved sinners (and loved in the midst of our sinfulness), that we are special and chosen, that we are gifted each in our own unique way. We must know, feel and understand this to the best of our capabilities. The only way we will even try to give back as we are called to in today’s Gospel; in love, in compassion and mercy, in forgiveness, is if we know what’s been given to us first. This is why spiritual direction is so important to the person considering their vocation. Through hurts, anger, suffering, bullying, teasing, low-self esteem or insecurities of any sort, we learn and develop through life reasons to doubt. We doubt we’re lovable, we doubt we’re forgivable, we doubt we’re worth anything – and if we fixate on this, we doubt God, or at least the truth and reality of God.
The Good News is we can get past that, and when we do, we are then ready to begin true and valuable faith and vocational discernment. We are ready to begin giving back to the Lord who has given so generously to each one of us. May God bless you.